Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ismaili militia formed in Hama province

Syrian Ismaili town rejects regime militia
by Now

BEIRUT – An Ismaili-populated town that lies on the edge of the Syrian Desert has rejected the presence of the pro-regime National Defense Force (NDF) amid the growing threat of an ISIS attack.

A pro-government militiaman in Aqarib al-Safia, which is located some 45 kilometers east of Hama, said that residents had formed a self-defense unit “after [locals] lost faith in the National Defense Force.”

“They lost faith in [the NDF’s] intentions after [the militia’s] transgressions and acts of theft against civilians in the village increased,” he told Alaraby Aljadeed in an article published Wednesday.

“The regime offered to fund us [and provide] weapons on the condition that the unit was led by a person who was a commander in the NDF,” the militiaman added.

“He is known for his bad conduct and aggression, so we refused the offer.”

“We accepted armament by the regime as long as the self-defense unit is not led by anyone from the NDF.” (...) 
Aqarib al-Safia—which has just under 4000 residents, mostly of the Ismaili faith—lies some 15 kilometers east of ISIS front lines on the edge of the Syrian Desert. (...) 
This seems to be the first Ismaili militia formed in the ongoing civil war. However, no similar activities have been reported so far from nearby city of Salamiya, the center of Syrian Ismailism.

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